Not surprisingly, I both loved this book and was irritated by it. (Aren't I always saying things like that? I feel like I'm always saying things like that.)
I loved it because it was engaging, fascinating and seemed well-researched. It also had the funniest real-life characters I've read about in a long, long while. These ultra-marathoners are bonkers crazy! Drinking like a fish the night before and then running an ultra-marathon - reminder: this is anything that is longer than a marathon, so this could be 30 miles or 100 miles or anything in between - and finishing in 3rd or 4th and smiling the whole while. Who are these people?!
Which leads me to my second point. McDougall's premise is that we're all runners, since caveman times, we gave up running as a culture (a world) and ruined our lives, and we should all return to running (barefoot, if possible) because anyone can and should run. Mulefritters. I do running 5Ks and I really, really enjoy the camaraderie of these, but I don't love the running. I love swimming (so now you know why I do 5K races - there's no camaraderie in the water!) and it's absolutely right up my alley physically and mentally. It also happens to be one of the best sports/fitnesses for your body because it works everything in it. Apparently, after this book came out, McDougall developed serious running calf and Achilles problems from running barefoot. Yea, well, you wouldn't get those if you swam instead (you might have other problems, but not problems that will make it impossible to walk, much less run).
So, this is kind of a +1 for swimming as an exercise (sorry, couldn't help myself), but also just a wish that folks who write super-entertaining books about running (or any exercise) should mention somewhere (anywhere) in it that if you're interested in not being sedentary, don't forget there are lots of other activities you can try. They might get less hate mail as a result!